A nurse was recently brought before the Fitness to Practise Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (‘NMC’) due to allegations of professional misconduct whilst working at a hospital. At the final hearing, the panel deemed it necessary to sanction the nurse by striking him off the NMC’s register in order to protect the public.
The nurse worked at the hospital from early 2015 until he was dismissed just over a year later in 2016. On more than one occasion, it was alleged that he was caught quickly shovelling food into the mouths of patients, giving them no time to swallow. In particular, it is alleged that one patient, who was nil-by-mouth, was left coughing and spluttering after such treatment. It was stated that the nurse still continued to feed the patient and claimed that the accusation was a lie. The nurse’s actions also allegedly included shaking a patient in an attempt to wake him up; using force to restrain a patient with dementia; and displaying abusive and intimidating behaviour towards members of staff. As a consequence, these allegations of misconduct caused the nurse’s fitness to practise to be brought into question.
At the hearing earlier this year, the panel stated that they were particularly concerned about the nurse’s lack of insight and remorse, as he denied the facts and attempted to justify his behaviour. The panel therefore believed that there was a high risk of such misconduct being repeated. The nurse was also accused of showing wilful disregard for the NMC throughout his hearing, refusing to recognise the independence of the panel and the hearing process. Despite denying all six allegations made against him, the panel found the allegations to be proven and therefore considered the nurse’s fitness to practice to be impaired.
The NMC concluded that his misconduct ‘was a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse in the UK,’ and ‘the serious breach of the fundamental tenets of the profession,’ evidenced by his actions, were ‘incompatible with his remaining on the register.’
As experts who deal with NMC matters on a daily basis, our specialist team are able to assist and advise nurses and midwives who find themselves faced with allegations of dishonesty and misconduct. We understand the sensitive nature of such proceedings and we know how distressing they can become for professional registrants, particularly when they feel that their actions have not given rise to misconduct. We are also able to assist registrants in engaging with the investigation and hearing process, which is particularly fundamental.
If you find yourself in a situation where your fitness to practise is being investigated, we have a dedicated team who will be able to assist you. For more information, please call our regulatory team on 0175 321 6399.
By Emily Hill, graduate paralegal in the regulatory team